As the first full quarter without Covid restrictions in place came to a close, search data from retail buyers showed that retailers were still considering its impact, and consumer buying habits had fundamentally changed. However, for the first time since the pandemic began, we are seeing a return to cyclical shopping habits.
In the US, searches were up for products within the CBD sector and an increase in searches for 'spa' and 'vegan' as consumers look to prioritize their health, according to a report by online retail platform RangeMe. In the UK, health was also a focus along with 'ice cream' following a prolonged warm spell in Q1, and both markets saw searches for 'water' trending higher.
Moreover, water, as a category, includes a range of products and taps into consumers’ increased focus on personal health. Beyond the drinking water market, which includes purified and ultra-purified bottled water, forecasts revenues of $509.2 billion by 2030.
“It’s reassuring to see trends developing as we move on from the pandemic restrictions such as more seasonal impacted purchasing. It’s equally interesting to see the behaviors that remain, such as more focus on health, self-improvement, sustainability, and holistic home entertainment for kids,” said Nicky Jackson, CEO, and Founder, RangeMe.
Continuing the personal health focus within the water segment, health and beauty care products include water-based skincare that hydrate and refresh the skin including rose water and jasmine water face mists, and micellar water.
Seasonality played a big role in Q1, with Valentines, Easter, and other Holiday purchases falling within this period. There is no surprise that searches for sweets and candy were up as retailers prepared for a busy treat buying period. In the US, vegan chocolate demand was up 11.7 percent in 2021, according to NielsenIQ, and even the big suppliers like Caroboo and Divine in the UK are choosing to release more animal-free chocolate products.
Finally, the pandemic has had a lasting impact on almost all categories in the consumer packaged goods industry, and the toy category is one of them. The global market for toys is projected to grow from $141 billion in 2021 to $230 billion by 2028. The extra time spent at home and homeschooling led to parents looking for ways to entertain their kids. This interest in more holistic home entertainment seems to have remained and corporate social responsibility (CSR) factors have created a movement in the toy space to diversify assortment to be more inclusive, such as skin tone and gender-neutral toys. Sustainability also plays a large part in what kind of toys retail buyers are looking for, like wooden toys, which were popular among buyers in the UK and Netherlands in Q1. Other eco-friendly materials included bamboo, clay, cork, and even recycled plastic to minimize waste dumped in landfills.
“In our end-of-year report, we predicted that Conscientiousness would play an important role in this year’s trends which we see developing. We also predicted that consumers wouldn’t stand for greenwashing, expect diversity and inclusion as standard, and would buy from trustworthy sources. Our report shows increases in searches for products with certifications that match this,” Jackson further stated.
READ MORE: Indians Prioritize Spending on Sustainable Products & Contributing to Local Businesses